The Department of Transportation has announced its latest round of technical assistance grants meant to prepare communities for South Coast rail. MassD O T awarded more than $240,000 to communities to help rewrite zoning laws and prepare for the economic development southcoast residents are hoping a commuter rail will bring. Southcoast towns receiving grants include Dartmouth, Fall River, Taunton, and Westport. Steve Smith, director of the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District said the grants coming in advance of a working commuter rail would help municipalities prepare and strategize. Permitting could take a few years, and funding for the project has not yet been secured but regional officials said they are hoping that the grants will allow communities to be prepared when construction occurs.